Dynamic Bass vs BA
The limited edition of the tia Fourté is the company’s current flagship. So of course I have to find out how the best of the CIEMs compare to the universal-only Noir. Is the most expensive model really better? Well, the bass is a bit tighter on the BA-only versions. The dynamic driver of the tia Noir is very fast for its nature. I will eventually compare it to the Campfire Solaris, which also impressed me quite a bit in this regard. I have always claimed to be a BA-guy, but lately the dynamic drivers are enticing me (including the Oriveti OH500). U18t’s dryness is without rival but U12t and Fourté Noir challenge each other for musicality. I’d say the 12t inches a few hertz lower but the Noir manages to create a more lively rendition. Ultimately, at very rich-layered bass tracks the Noir is surpassed by the two BA models.
Mids and Misleading Frequency Response*
Based on the frequency graph, I expected the Fourté to be a dupe. Sure, by objective means of evaluation the 12t and 18t are superior, but the Noir still manages to sound just right – even in the midrange. It’s warmer and fuller sounding yet it takes only one millisecond to get me hooked. … Me, a self-proclaimed elitist in the hifi world. Wow. The latest tia model creates unheard space around vocals. Separate instruments impress with details and fluidity at the same time. If it weren’t for measurements and A/B-comparison, I would have never guessed the coloration in the midrange of the tia Noir.
The U12t creates the most natural high frequencies of the bunch. It rolls off smoothly but does not lack in extension at all. The 12 are very humble in their treble prowess. Not so the 18 that boasts overtone details like no other. Driver count is not what the tia Fourté impresses with, but until now the Fourté (Noir) is 64’s only IEM with two tia drivers for the treble. Unexpectedly, the Noir sounds darker and more peaky but yet again captures with musicality. Can it beat the U18t in resolution? No. Does it have to? No.
Ok, so by my testing I would rate both U12t and U18t as technically superior to the Fourté Noir. But somehow the tia universal is now the model I am most interested in. The Noir puts the music into an atmospheric low-lit Jazz bar with superb instruments played by virtuosos and creates perhaps the best holographic soundstage I have ever heard. It has the biggest wow-factor of an IEM without creating fatigue. I am sure there will be a bunch of people bashing the Noir, but if they do, I doubt they have actually spent time with it or given it a fair chance.